The Cultural and Tourist Routes in the Algarve guide visitors along routes that give them a compact view of important aspects of the region’s identity, while simultaneously giving them the opportunity to enjoy nature and the hospitality of the local people.
The Al-Mutamid Route, which crosses the Algarve from Aljezur to Vila Real de Santo António, celebrates the poet king and governor of Silves.
Starting in Lisbon, ending in Seville, and passing through the Alentejo on the way, it connects all of Al Andalus, and travellers will come across very diverse landscapes and considerable monumental heritage, which can be enjoyed throughout all the Algarve.
Other routes that cross southern Europe include the Way of St James, the Discoveries route and the Umayyad route, which connects seven countries on either side of the Mediterranean.
It is amid the extraordinary scenery of the legendary Sagres Promontory that the European Discoveries Route begins, a reminder of five centuries of history.
The route also reveals the maritime tradition of the lands which were the cradle of the discoverers: Sagres and Vila do Bispo and, on the other side of the River Guadiana, the Andalusian city of Seville, from which seafaring expeditions set off to explore the planet.
As a result of the Discoveries, the Jewish communities of Lagos, Faro, and Tavira expanded, and new ones appeared in Alcoutim, Alvor, Loulé, Portimão, Silves and Castro Marim.
The Network of Jewish Quarters shows the Jewish culture in Portugal through the “Sephardic Routes”. Particularly noteworthy in the Algarve is the Jewish Quarter in Faro, cradle of printing in Portugal, with the 1487 edition of the “Torah”, by Samuel Gacon.
As you seek out your perfect holiday, be sure to go walking on the Cork Route, in the Serra do Caldeirão uplands, shaded by the cork oaks.
This is a veritable expedition to the area that produces the world’s best cork. The corks in many high-quality wine and champagne bottles are produced in Portugal and Portuguese cork has travelled into space aboard NASA’s space shuttles. The Algarve’s cork centre is in São Brás de Alportel where nature, tradition and heritage come together with the aromas and flavours of the upland cuisine.